BBM Channels to exit beta soon, plus BBM Voice and Video calling coming to Android and iOS users ‘within months’

Ian Hardy

October 26, 2013 10:33am

BBM has experienced a resurgence in popularity ever since BlackBerry made the app available to Android and iPhone users. The first day saw downloads top 10 million and apparently it’s still going strong.

While the app will always be free, Andrew Bocking, EVP of BBM for BlackBerry, appeared on CBC’s The Morning Edition and declared that “We have other ideas on how to monetize that service.” Bocking hinted at BBM Channels, BlackBerry’s new “social engagement platform within BBM.” This initiative was announced last May and allows users to expand the “BBM experience to brands, artists, businesses and communities, you will now be able to connect with individuals and groups in real time.”

Making BBM a revenue generator is not new as the company was previously seeking individuals to start selling advertisers on using the service, specifically having sponsored posts and targeted ads within the BBM channels you subscribe to. CBC’s Andrea Bellemare stated during the interview that BlackBerry “will launch BBM Channels soon.” Unfortunately there’s no specific timing of when BBM channels will exit beta.

Bocking noted, “We continue to plan to evolve the service and keep making it more engaging and have more reasons why people will come back to use the service.”

In addition, when BlackBerry announced the 10 million download milestone earlier this week they committed to bring BBM Voice and Video calling to Android and iOS users “in the near future.” According to Bocking, these features will arrive “within months.”

Source: CBC
Via: Twitter

  • Lamar

    hmmmm.. i think this has potential if they can get the right brands on it. Plus if celebs use it, of course everyone will jump on board.

    • Skbwolf

      surprisingly they actually have a lot brands and local companies (depending on location of course) testing out the beta. They had some small artists doing Q&A’s via channels as well. So far no major bugs that I can see, I think its pretty much ready for release.

    • Balls O’Steele

      If I could get a Toronto phone number and use BBM for incoming and outgoing VoLTE calling, then I would buy in. But if not, I might as well use Hangouts.

    • J-Ro

      BBRY doesn’t want to cut out carriers, not when they need them for business.

    • J-Ro

      I forgot it was in beta, it works so well. I just hope they do a thorough beta testing for the cross platform client.

  • E. R

    Now I have a question, at times I use Hangout for video calling, Facebook for voice and sometimes video calling as well. For iOS users you have Hangouts (new update) and Face Time. So how is this (BBM Voice and Video calling) different from the above?

    • Eduardo

      same question people asked me when I tried to convince them to try it… Needless to say that with the horrible waiting process, I wasn’t able to convince anyone, the advantage of bbm used to be that it was reliable but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore (saw a few reports). I don’t see any difference between fb, hangouts, facetime, viber, etc and this.

    • MapsOnburt

      Yeas, BBM has a two stage install process but that means you don”t have to give anyone your cell number or email to chat with them. its very easy to uninvite someone and they have no way to pester you afterwards. Add to the fact that BBM chats are more secure than texts and MMS and you”ll soon be able to do voice and video calls all for free (unlike WhatsAppn which will soon be sending invoices to all its customers – it was a one year free service) or skype which MS has ruined or iMessage which only works on iOS nd BBM has a good shot at regaining top spot. i don”t know about you but I don’t want Facebook or Google Hangouts scanning my texts and telling advertisers what to spam me with.

    • Eduardo

      1.- I don’t give out my email or phone number to anyone that might pester me afterwards, and even if I had to give out my email, if I sense I might want to ditch you afterwards I can just give you one of my dump emails or create a filter for you.
      2.- I don’t need my chats to be secure
      3.- If Whatsapp actually starts charging, I might ditch them, I don’t like it to begin with, big deal.
      4.- I don’t use fb, Google already has access to all my emails so I look forward for hangouts to integrate SMS.
      5.- I know ZERO people that use BBM (except for people at work with whom I have no intention to using it with); so I have zero reason to use it, good for you if you find BBM amazing, I have nothing against it besides the pain in the a*s that was to gain access to a ghost town.

    • br14

      If you don’t want to use it – don’t use it. And fair enough if none of your friends use the service.

      But otherwise your excuses seem somewhat fabricated.

      I’d have thought everyone would prefer to have their conversations be private. And why have the fuss of giving out “dump emails” if you don’t have to.

      Personally I’d prefer not to give Google access any more of my data than I have to (they already have lots I’d prefer them not to have anyway). And I know enough peers who feel similarly to myself to make any Google social media product a no-go area.

      By the time they’ve added your search, email, location, phone and profile data to their databases, there isn’t much they don’t know about you and they’re happy to exploit it to the highest bidder. Which probably explains why spam email is through the roof these days.

    • MapsOnburt

      Listen, people need to do what’s best for them. Some people actually care about security and privacy of their data and are willing to respond to one more step to ensure their privacy. Others are content with two tin cans and a string. Me, I’ll gladly put up with one extra 15 second step to ensure I’m not getting spammed from people I was happy to chat with at one point and no longer want to communicate with or have advertisers offer me ads based upon my private conversations. What ever floats your boat.

    • nayab9

      You’ll notice there are many different tools required to have a video/audio call. You need to install Skype, Hangout, some people don’t have FaceTime, etc…

      If people are using BBM as their go-to messenger client – its as easy as pressing 1 button to engage in an audio or video call with that same person.

      So an example would be: You are chatting with someone on SMS, you now want to video chat, what do you do? Lets log into Skype and call eachother.

      VS

      Chatting with someone on BBM – press video chat button.

    • Nitin Gaba

      BBM will offer basically the same features as Hangouts (as they are also testing BBM for desktop). The biggest difference is that BBM is considered more secure than all other platforms. The NSA has been able to crack all databases (including Apple and Google) except Blackberries database. This makes BBM an easy sell to business people. The PIN allows you to control who you connect with and you can even delete people from your contacts, or just not accept them, and they can no longer message you. With all other systems everyone with your number or e-mail can automatically message you. WhatsApp syncs with your contacts and the worst part is that somebody could have you added on it and you would never know (if they have your number somehow but you don’t have theirs). The same scenario applies to all other systems except BBM, Skype and old school awesome MSN messenger.

    • J-Ro

      In a year or two, this will be the go-to messenger for everyone. Right now it is new but once channels rolls out and the big brands are on board, people will wonder how they lived without it.

  • Riley Freeman

    Update last night fixed the contacts tab crashing. Thank you

  • Matthew in Toronto

    BBM Channels 2014 = AOL Chat Rooms 1994

  • br14

    You could just buy a BlackBerry 10 phone and have the convenience of BBM Voice and Video now (works great by the way). The Z30 is very good. Better than anything Apple has to offer anyway.

    Otherwise, you might be surprised to learn just how complex synchronous video can be. It’s not simple that’s for sure.

  • Matthew in Toronto
  • J-Ro

    I hope they take their time with this release and get it absolutely right, I don’t want to experience another failed launch. GTA online and Batman Arkham City still have my hairs standing up.

  • Hayder Ameen

    see details in techglen website :D